Dinghy trip to San Blas

My initial thought was to dinghy to shore and then grab a bus into San Blas for a look around. Vicki suggested we just take the dingy straight to San Blas. I was a little apprehensive but figured this was a chance to expand the envelope of my comfort zone (I get nervous once past the distance that would be easily rowed back to the boat). This would be about a five mile dinghy ride so off we went!

Everything was plugging along fine, there were big waves breaking on the shore but with a breakwater we figured it would be fine. Approaching the breakwater there was a bit of confusion as to the entrance and when we came into the wrong spot and we had to turn back out to sea as it became apparent these were some serious waves. Thankfully they weren’t breaking waves but they were gearing up to that point. Gunning the engine we got back into a safer area and soon had no problem navigating into the proper channel…

We followed the colored buoys in to the Fonatur marina. Dinghy tied up, the place had a strange vibe. More so when a seemingly random guy on a bike came up to us and demanded 20 peso for the dinghy landing. I told him no problem that I would go to the office. Perplexed he said I could pay him and pointed to a lady getting out of her car saying I could ask her, but I had not idea who she was either. So up to the office I went and talked to the manager explaining we would be getting dingy gas and leaving in a few hours. He still wanted the 20 pesos but it felt more legit. Footnote, I do think the bicycle guy was associated with the marina somehow and it probably would have been fine but when something doesn’t feel right I prefer to investigate.

We wandered into town and quickly found the central square and church. We explored a bit and since I was hungry I had a rustic breakfast in the mercado municipal. The people were friendly but we felt watched. It was a bit strange. Since we planned to sail down to Chacala today we couldn’t explore the old fort. We’ll save that for next time.

Back at the marina we walked around trying to find someone to sell us some gas. That took some effort but we now had plenty of fuel for the return trip. Started up the motor, I noticed the cooling water stream was at zero. Ugh, should have gone with my gut and taken the bus. Oh well, troubleshooting mode. Off comes the engine cover, nothing amiss. Check the hole, nothing plugging it. I restart the engine and there is some water coming out, not a great flow but a flow.

We begin the trip back to Strikhedonia and before even getting to the ocean there was no pee pee coming out. I stopped and restarted the engine and a tiny flow returned. We limped about half way back before we were back to zero cooling water. Engine off, engine cover off, and let it cool while we paddle. Holy shit was that a slow process. I think we make 100 meters in 10 minutes. Engine back running with a baby stream and we slowing motor the remaining distance. Whew. Lesson learned, dinghy engines are important.

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